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The Ministry of Angels.

The Ministry of Angels.

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Published by glennpease

Heb. i. 14.

'* Are they not all ministering spirits^ sent forth to minister for
them who shall be heirs of salvation?"

Heb. i. 14.

'* Are they not all ministering spirits^ sent forth to minister for
them who shall be heirs of salvation?"

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Published by: glennpease on Jun 29, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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THE MIISTRY OF AGELS.RICHARD WITER HAMILTO. LL.D.,D.D.,Heb. i. 14.'* Are they not all ministering spirits^ sent forth to minister forthem who shall be heirs of salvation?"When we look forth, still more when we think, upon the uni-verse, we are astonished at its immensity. As space recedes intothe illimitable, as imagination raises farther and farther back allthe boundaries and outposts it can conceive, as confine yields toconfine until none other can be supposed, we find characteristicsof the same design, monuments of the same power, proofs of thesame beneficence, which we observe in our own habitation. Therestill flame out suns : there still circle round them tributary worlds.We may speak of that system of which our dwelling forms apart. We mark in the planets which constitute it, the change of phase which denotes a separate revolution. We follow them intheir difi^erently measured rounds. Some have lunar light, as isapportioned to us. Manifestations are not wanting of seasons inthem. One of this fellowship has only been claimed to it withinmodem years. Long had it wandered, at twice the distance of the farthest planet, unnoticed yet not unrelated, obeying thesame centre with all the rest. The analogies of this system areobvious. It is governed by uniform laws. One answers to all :all answer to one. So perfect is the union, we call them a sister-hood : so unbroken is the harmony, we describe them as a choir.But this is only narrow cycle and epicycle. We gaze uponlarger fields. Our sun no more rules. Mightier creations burstupon our sight. Yet there is no violent departure from theorder we have hitherto ascertained. Still attraction and repulsioD-544 THE MIISTRY OF AGELS.prevail. The shape is orb-like. The motion is rotatory. Thebeam of the most remote fixed star reaches us by the very prin-ciple which cause the lamp to cast its light upon our page. Greatand little correspond. The inference is irresistible : the Creatorof all this must be one. The presumption is almost as certain :the design of all this must be similar. Then, those worlds areprovinces of an undivided empire. Their outward arrangementsso fully agreeing, we may infer something which brings them into
a common use. We are confirmed, by every enquiry into thecourse and condition of the physical structure which we inhabit,that it was made for inhabitation. The argument as stronglypresses that it was contrived precisely for such creatures as arefound upon it. There is respect to their organs of life and of enjoyment. There is adaptation to their every sense. How canit be denied, that every probability favours the conclusion thatother worlds are abodes, that they are filled with their popula-tions, and that throughout the universe, as far as it may be ex-plored, there is the teeming of multitudinous life ? And how canit be reasonably doubted, that such life bears traces coincidingwith our own? Why are atmospheres, constellations, satellites,concentricities, multiplied, repeated, and still evolved, but thatthere is a resemblance of being? otwithstanding this clearanalogy, we are soon made to feel the limits of our ignorance.By a rigid demonstration of geometry we may guage those vastspheres: we possess no means of information, no particles of knowledge, in regard, if such exist, to their moral history.In the absence of all discovery concerning other creatures,the human fancy has not only been ingeniously fertile but impi-ously daring. Mythology is its conception. We cannot deny acertain beauty to it. Its daemons implied very different ideas toits disciples from what they can to us. The classic writings assumethat they were true and good beings, and therefore they are un-derstood in a favourable light: they were the lords many, and thegods many, of their worship and of their heaven. The ewTestament, so far as it couples them with fallen angels,— KX>n8i-ders them as only wicked. It constantly shows that these angelsfirere the chief agents and supporters of idolatry. Hence theTHE MIISTRY OF AOEL8. 545simple cause, that the Pagan poetry and even philosophy speak of the dscmon without exception in a reverential sense, and thatthe inspired Volume as invariably speaks of him in that whichis abhorrent. or let us lose ourselves in the picturesque of that superstition which crowded every scene with genii, — whichgave satyr to the desert, naiad to the stream, and faun to thegrove. They who have read these legends, — attuned by verse,adorned by taste, — well know what is the design of such ma-chines. They are the very brood of vice. They are a rout of wild debauch. Whatever interventions are narrated of them,they were not the auxiliaries of innocence nor the defenders of worth. o woodland was safe in which they roamed : no river
was pure in which they laved. The whole thought is one un-chasteness. It is a defilement every where obtruding its taint.The endeavour is to hide the grossness. Many of our age andname would refine it into allegory. But the proofs of its utterabomination are manifest. When lawless passion built its shrinesapart, there was restriction, there was check : but this was theubiquity of the evil, mingling pollution with every fairest copseand every glassy spring. And when there was a bolder theory,— when seons and demigods were placed in the midway of earthand the empyrean, — ^it became a vain incumbrance. o interestof man was subserved. It was a glittering vision, explaining nodifficulty, bringing no help. A greater confusion was but intro«duced. one could say what was the Supreme control whichwielded and restrained them. It was the endless subdivision of power. It wearied thought. It distracted hope. It was thatpantheism which is more revolting and sacrilegious than thefolly which says, There is no God !Inspired Scripture is our only guide. Its informations areclear. Heaven is inhabited by creatures. They are constitutedfor it. It is their proper region. It meets all their capacities.These are the angels. They are as proper to it, as men to earth.Every creature has its habitation. That habitation is congenial.So of these blessed existences, the celestial is the native home." The army of heaven^^ is as discriminate as " the inhabitants of earth.**^ Jehovah identifies himself with them, and takes a name 546 THE MIISTRY OF AOEL8.from them, "the Lord of hosts/' Jacob, therefore, when theangels of God met him, exclaimed : •* This is God's host.'' Whenthe angel announced to the shepherds of Bethlehem the advent of the Saviour, " suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host." They may speed on errands of duty, but thisis their sphere. They are the singers of this temple, answeringeach other in antiphonal bursts of praise. They are seen " walk-ing in their places" and " standing by." They are the princesof this court. They swell its state and form its retinue. **Iam Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God." " The angelsin heaven." " As the angels of God in heaven."We thus find that there is another world filled with its race.They are substantive beings. The Text affords a strong, though

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